The Push Model – Publication Schemes
With the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) rapidly approaching its sixth birthday, it is a good time to revisit one of RTI’s fundamental principles: the push model of information release. The push model requires agencies to proactively push information out to the community, as much as possible, with the goal of making formal applications a last resort.
One of the ways the RTI Act gives effect to the push model is by requiring agencies to have a publication scheme on their website. Seven classes of information must be included in all publication schemes: About Us; Our Services; Our Finances; Our Priorities; Our Decisions; Our Policies; and Our Lists. This breadth of information allows members of the public to gain a basic understanding of what the agency does, how the agency does it, and what information about that agency might be of interest to them.
As part of their audit activities, OIC’s Performance Monitoring and Reporting team (PMR) assesses agency publication schemes against set criteria. PMR looks at publication schemes from a different perspective than that of the community. Where a member of the public reviews a publication scheme to learn about the agency, PMR reviews a publication scheme to ensure it is effective and compliant. OIC has made PMR’s tools, including ones we use ourselves, available to agencies who may want to assess their own publication scheme and find ways to improve it. Some agencies have already incorporated such checks into their internal audit program.
- Desktop Audit for internal audit in agencies (XLSM, 372.12 KB)
- Self assessment electronic audit tool (DOCX, 171.35 KB) with instructions (PPT, 2452.5 KB)and video
OIC also has checklists for different kinds of agencies, to assess whether their website meets the RTI Act’s website requirements:
- Departmental website requirements checklist (PDF, 330.67 KB)
- Local Government website requirements checklist (PDF, 247.48 KB)
- Hospital and Health Services website requirements checklist (PDF, 326.71 KB)
- Hospital Foundations website requirements checklist (PDF, 245.35 KB)
OIC’s Audit reports can give useful insight into how PMR applies these tools and the key things considered in an agency audit. The Desktop Audit reports, which assess agency publication schemes and other aspects of an agency’s website, are:
- Results of Desktop Audits 2013-2014
- Results of Desktop Audits 2012-2013 (PDF, 394.53 KB)
- Desktop audits results 2011-2012 (PDF, 364.28 KB)
- Desktop audits results 2010 (PDF, 175.98 KB)
In addition to tools and reports, OIC has guidelines available to assist agencies in developing, refining, and maintaining their publication schemes and the push model generally:
For more information on the push model, publication schemes, or any other aspect of administrative access, please contact the Enquiries Service on 07 3234 7373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.